The Leather & Hide Council of America (L&HCA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), joining forces to collaborate on a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices in the U.S. leather industry. The ambitious agreement will position the U.S. industry as a global leader in sustainable leather production.
“This is a historic moment for the leather industry,” said Stephen Sothmann, president of L&HCA. “By partnering with WWF and embracing ESG practices as a central tenet of its business culture, the U.S. leather industry is poised to take the lead in addressing the most critical challenges we face today and in the future.”
With support and guidance from WWF, L&HCA will be a conduit for projects promoting solutions to help U.S. companies adopt robust systems and processes to construct, implement, and demonstrate progress on science-based, data-driven ESG commitments.
“Due to their privileged position in the global marketplace, WWF believes that the U.S. leather sector is well positioned to significantly advance the decoupling of deforestation from global leather value chains,” said Mauricio Bauer, senior director of Beef & Leather Supply Chains at WWF-US. “This partnership with L&HCA is an important step forward. By constructing a robust body of work aimed at addressing these issues in an open, science-based, data-driven manner, US leather companies will be making a substantial contribution to the sustainability of the leather sector as a whole.”
Among the issues to be addressed via the partnership between the two organizations include deforestation, water stewardship, human and labor rights, and zero net greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership also intends to promote an open dialogue with a multitude of stakeholders, from academia and NGOs to the public sector and financial institutions.
The MOU builds on previous collaboration efforts between the two organizations, as well as the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).